A root canal treatment is a dental treatment, also known as endodontics, designed to treat infection and decay that occurs at the centre of the tooth affecting the nerve and the pulp.
The tooth structure is in three distinct parts. On the outside is the enamel which is the hard coating. Underneath that is the dentin, a softer more bone-like material which surrounds the pulp of the tooth.
The root canal is the path of pulp that runs down through the gum and into the jawbone. It is this part of the tooth that keeps it anchored in place and also surrounds the dental nerve and blood vessels. In some cases there is more than one root canal per tooth. If this pulp area becomes infected either as the result of bacteria penetrating the tooth due to decay or some kind of structural damage, the root canal can become infected. The infection then attacks the nerve and blood vessels causing an abscess or at worst, tooth loss. This infection will also be very painful and can easily spread to other teeth and the gums if not treated quickly.
A root canal treatment from a Weston-super-Mare dentist is designed to save the tooth and stop the infection spreading to other areas. It has quite a fearsome reputation but will actually bring an end to the pain rather than cause any more. The dentist drills down into the root canal and removes any infected material. They may then use antibiotics to sterilise the area before filling the cavity and possibly applying a dental crown to strengthen the tooth.
If performed well, a root canal treatment has no reason to be painful. It will take place under a local anaesthetic and will hopefully bring an end to a painful and potentially threatening infection. If you are experiencing a pain in any of your teeth and suspect infection, early treatment is always the best option so make an appointment to see your dentist.